How Retailers in the Food Service Industry Can Improve Sales

Food service industry retailers inherently must have good taste when it comes to merchandising. The industry is crowded, and the customer’s choice to buy goes beyond product quality. When we think of the food service industry, we think of pots, pans, plates, silverware, appliances, and more. Retailers often carry a wide product assortment full of different brands and tools to make a food service professional’s life a little bit easier.

As a retailer in this space, you know that many professionals want to purchase multiple items from the same brand. For example, plates and bowls generally match in restaurants, and you’re going to want to offer a tablecloth that compliments everything that is placed on top of it. This gives you a lot of options to improve your store’s shopping experience and put some extra money in your pocket with upsells and cross-sells.

Unlike a lot of other spaces, food service retailers don’t really have to consider seasonality when it comes to different product types. Silverware and glasses never really go out of style, but style preferences might change. Therefore, you don’t have to fret about slashing prices so severely for clearance items.

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The reality of these items is that they’re fragile, and you therefore have to take extra care of them when it comes to shipping and delivery. This can increase shipping costs, and hurt your odds of keeping a customer past the checkout screen. These problems run rampant across the industry, but there are ways to combat them and end up on top of the competition.

When your industry is crowded, you have to learn how to differentiate your business in a big way. Beyond product quality, there are numerous ways to do this. Your prices, your brand experience, and your merchandising have to be top notch to stand out from the competition.

Shopping Experience

Your inventory assortment can be split up into two groups, Your low-involvement purchases, such as glasses, plates, silverware, etc. usually require less research and comparison shopping. But your high-involvement purchases, such as your appliances, are a completely different story.

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Appliances like ovens, stoves, even certain toaster ovens can be a big investment for your customers. They require a lot of research and comparison shopping that can be very time consuming. Because of this, the shopper is going to see a lot of retailer names, and you have to make sure yours stands out.

To do this, the first step you should take is to be helpful. Live chat online can answer any questions that were not answered by your product descriptions. You should also include various pieces of content that go hand in hand with your product listing to make inform shoppers at every stage of the buying process.

Merchandising

When it comes to merchandising in the food service industry, you have a couple of obstacles to get over. The first is the ability to successfully display the full appearance and description of your items, especially when it comes to decor. As mentioned before, this can be solved with several pieces of content, including, but not limited to, descriptions, blog posts, videos, images, and more.

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Beyond that, there are merchandising tactics you can implement to win shoppers over at the checkout screen. The first being a threshold for free shipping. Customers love free shipping, and 58% of shoppers will add items to their cart to achieve it. Since shipping costs can be high with fragile and heavy goods, these thresholds can remove the stigma of shipping costs from the equation altogether.

Another way to improve your merchandising strategy is by adopting an omnichannel retail strategy. Since many shoppers are hesitant to buy products without seeing them first, integrating a physical presence with online channels can turn a maybe into a yes. You just have to make sure your prices are uniform across all of your selling channels to avoid angering a customer.

Pricing

Your pricing is going to vary from your competitors based on a number of factors, two of the main ones being brand value and product quality. These two factors are usually related to one another, since luxury brands are known to carry high quality products and vice versa. The brand of your items will usually dictate the price, thanks to their elasticity.

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Elastic products carry a strong relationship between price and demand. A price change will definitely have a direct impact on demand, and therefore leave little room for price changes. Your low involvement products are very elastic, and you have to accept the market price other retailers carry for certain brands.

On the other hand, your high-involvement purchases are typically inelastic. You have a lot more wiggle room with your pricing on these products, which is important since your customers will be constantly comparing yours against your competitors’. This makes repricing important, as you want to have the best price possible at all times.

A dynamic pricing strategy can help you find the price that will win customers without putting too much strain on your profit margins. By testing different price points, you can find a price that will respect your margins and improve sales.

Angelica Valentine

Angelica Valentine is a Marketing Consultant with several years of expertise in the retail sector. Her work has appeared on VentureBeat, Business Insider, SAP, and more. She holds a BA from Barnard College of Columbia University.

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